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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Drop In Pilgrim Numbers. No More Quotas For Pilgrimage. All Are Welcome. Money Talks Loudest.

Folks I already predicted this would happen. The Saudis will soon drop all quotas on the numbers of pilgrims allowed into their country.

Here is some Middle East news :

Iran, Saudi Arabia to discuss pilgrimage in Feb
Iran delegation to visit Saudi on Feb 23, 2017 
Iran seeks to participate in pilgrimage with dignity
Saudi sent letter, Iran to negotiate with Saudi
Saudi to promise good conduct for pilgrims

Iranians did not attend pilgrimage in 2016 
2015 deadly human crush in Mina, near Mecca. 
Saudi Arabia published death toll of 770 
Iran said 4,700 people, including 465 Iranians died
Also crane collapse in Mecca, killing 100 pilgrims, 11 Iranians

My comments : 

In 2016 the Iranian govt banned their people from the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

There are a few reasons why the Iranians banned the pilgrimage and umra in 2016. 

Firstly the Iranians had complained bitterly about the incompetent Saudi's gross incompetence in handling the infamous crush in Mina that killed almost 5000 pilgrims in 2015. 

The Iranians said the Saudis lied by saying that less than 1000 people had died.  The Iranians say that the Iranian death toll alone was 465 pilgrims. 
Then there was an infamous incident in March 2015 when two male Iranians claimed to be 'sexually assaulted' at the airport in Jeddah.  

Finally an Iranian plane with pilgrims on board was not allowed to land for the pilgrimage.  That was in 2015.

So the Iranians had had enough and said they will not be coming for the 2016 pilgrimage and umra. The ban is still in effect.

  • The Iranians send a huge number of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia every year. 
  • The Iranian contingent is in excess of 100,000 people.  
  • And over 500,000 more Iranians perform the Umra throughout the year. 
  • That is over 600,000 Iranians visiting Saudi Arabia each year. 

If each Iranian spends US$2000 for the trip, it adds up to US$1.2 Billion or over RM5.3 billion. That is a lot of revenue which Saudi Arabia has lost.

(By the way a friend and his wife paid  RM70,000 ! ! for a 25 day pilgrimage last year. That is US$15,000+ ! !)

The Saudis earn a lot of money from the pilgrimage. So the Iranian boycott represents a huge loss of revenue for the Saudis. 

And with all the wars, destruction and economic loss in the Islamic countries, the number of Muslims who can afford to perform the pilgrimage will decrease. 

There will be fewer pilgrims from war torn and/or  poor countries like Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and others.

The same friend who spent RM70,000 for the pilgrimage in September last year said that there was no huge rush of crowds and it was easy getting to places to perform the rituals.  This simply means there were less pilgrims.

Minus the 100,000 Iranians boycotting and minus thousands of other Muslims who cannot afford the pilgrimage anymore,  the numbers of pilgrims has decreased. 

This means Saudi Arabia has lost billions in revenue at a time when their economy  is suffering from low oil prices and their useless war in Yemen, on top of their corruption and gross incompetence.

Hence the Saudis have little choice but to write a letter to the Iranians and invite them back to perform the pilgrimage and umra again. They cannot afford to lose the revenue from 600,000 Iranian pilgrims.

Soon the Saudis will abolish all quotas for all countries. Everyone will be welcome to come to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage and umra.  

Money talks loudest.  The more money the Saudis need, the more pilgrims will be welcome.  

There will be more rushes and crushes. 
They will not care. 
Just bring your money first habibie.

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